At the back of the house, as a gentle rain fell onto the roof, the eavestrough system seemingly couldn’t keep up as a torrent of water overflowed over the side of the eavestrough, falling like a sheet.
The odd part was that there seemed to be more rain falling off the eaves system than was actually falling from the sky. The math didn’t quite add up, but then again there were a few things about this house that elicited moments of squint-inducing confusion.
When my partner mentioned it in passing to his parents, his father diagnosed the problem as a blocked gutter system. What we didn’t know was that something of this nature would actually keep his father up at night with worry, as in the days that followed, he kept asking if we took care of it yet.
I took a moment to count my blessings. Given that my own father and grandfathers have not been with us for some time, I forgot what it was like to have a family member take such a keen interest in my home maintenance issues… and to such an extreme. It was heartwarming to have someone who cared like that.
I understood that misdirected water could impact several other things in and around the house if not taken care of soon. And for the water to be falling in strong cascades off the side of the eavestrough, we realized that we probably should move it up our lengthy to-do list. But between unpacking and still putting in full days at work, energy and time was in limited supply.
The following Sunday, when my partner concluded his phone call with his mother, he announced that his parents were coming over to help with some yard work. “How sweet and generous of them”, I said as I rummaged through packing boxes to locate a spare stick of anti-perspirant as I was starting to run low.
Shortly after their arrival, I realized that my plans for unpacking would have to wait a little as my father-in-law showed up with a very tall ladder, ready to investigate what was going on with the eavestroughs.
I admit that I was a little out of practice when it came to surprise visits from my elders to tackle home repairs, but it was a familiar concept to me as I recalled times my own granddad showed up out of the blue like Superman, ready to save the day, with drill, hammer and saw in hand. And when those serendipitous moments happen, you take the help when it is offered.
What I hadn’t planned on was being in the middle of the action. Obviously, we wouldn’t have dreamed of asking the nonagenarian among us to climb the tall ladder. And I knew in my heart that my partner was not fond of heights, whereas I tended to make friends pretty quickly with ladders. It became clear who should take the bullet on this one.
Given the warm sunny day and my unfortunate genetic predisposition for burning to a crisp in a matter of minutes, I excused myself to go slather on some high intensity sunblock in preparation for the task ahead.
When I returned, everything was set up and ready for me to scale the ladder like the little mountain climber on the Price is Right. Even though I felt pretty secure and safe in knowing that someone was below keeping it steady, it took a few minutes to get truly comfortable with the ladder.
Once I did, it felt just like in my days as a teenager, working at “your friendly neighbourhood pharmacy”, washing the gigantic store windows from atop a very tall stepladder, laughing with each passerby who said, “Want to come do mine?” like I hadn’t already heard the joke at five minute intervals.
It didn’t take an eavestrough specialist to see that a good cleaning was indeed needed to remove the debris that accumulated. Even though I had a trowel handy to use as a scoop, it turned out that my hands were the more efficient method for clearing the path. Once I had cleaned a segment, a good blast with the garden hose helped to carry away any remaining dust, dirt and soil down through the eavestrough system.
And then, I’d climb down the ladder, we would dispose of the debris I had scooped out, we would move the ladder and the hose a few feet over, and start all over again.
I forget exactly how long we were out there to do that entire side of the house, but it couldn’t have been more than an hour. I admitted that I was having fun and completely lost track of time.
Who knew of the huge sense of satisfaction I would feel from a sparkling clean eavestrough system, although logically, it would make sense that this task would appeal to the OCD cleaning gene I inherited from both sides of the family tree.
If I had my phone in my pocket, I probably would have taken photos as I was so proud of what we had accomplished. If someone had suggested that I would be adding “gutter cleaning” to my resumé of home maintenance experience, I would have thought that they were crazy. But that day had come… and I rather enjoyed it!
And now, with every rainfall since, my partner and I find ourselves with our noses practically stuck to the north windows, giggling at the silliness of watching the gutters do their job, and not a torrent of rain falling beside it.
I think my dad and my grandfathers would have been proud!
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